Relationships take a lot of work, compromises, and adjustments. This is especially true for LGBTQ relationships.

Navigating Lesbian Relationship Issues
Navigating Lesbian Relationship Issues

When you are in a lesbian relationship, the challenges of having healthy communication can feel even more intense. This is because homophobia can make it hard for couples to have honest conversations. It also can hurt your self-esteem.

1. Expectations

Whether you’re in the early stages of a relationship or well into it, navigating lesbian relationship issues can be tricky. It’s important to keep in mind that healthy relationships take time to develop. The expectation that everything should feel amazing right away isn’t sustainable and can lead to unhealthy habits.

In the beginning, it’s common for a couple to spend all their time together basking in each other’s love. Friends may drop out, separate activities cease, and the relationship becomes like a cocoon.

This can feel wonderful, but it also creates a stifling environment. It’s essential for couples to talk about expectations and boundaries and get into a healthier communication space with the help of a couples therapist. Having these conversations can prevent feelings of isolation and disconnection.

2. Intimacy

Many lesbian couples struggle with emotional intimacy. This can be a result of lingering trauma from homophobia, the need for one woman to be the “man” in the relationship, or simply the need to connect deeply with a female partner.

Jealousy is another issue that can arise in any same-sex relationship. It can be triggered by an insecurity that your partner is more attractive than someone else or the fear of being replaced.

Regardless of how you’re feeling, communication is key when dealing with jealousy. Avoid going round and round on the same topic, and instead try to communicate with compassion. This can help you both calm down and articulate your thoughts and feelings in a more thoughtful way that can lead to resolution.

3. Friendship

Many lesbian couples argue about things like chores, money, and sex. But they also go out to parties, listen to music together, hang out with other friends, and take vacations.

The same-sex couple may be doubly stigmatized in their communities by having to deal with the fact that their relationship isn’t a heterosexual marriage. This can lead to a sense of being isolated and alone in their relationship.

Margy suggested that the most common obstacles to friendship among lesbians in relationships were jealousies by present lovers and gossip by the community about two lesbians who begin spending time together. Butch-femme roles and kinship structures that include boundaries against boundary violations might reduce these problems. But it can be difficult to have these structures in place at all times.

4. Communication

Many couples struggle with communication. Despite the best of intentions, it’s easy to get lost in the heat of the moment and say things you might later regret. The resulting hurt and anger can damage the relationship.

Often, lesbians experience unique challenges when it comes to communication. They may face challenges with coming out to family and friends, which can be very difficult. They also might have difficulty communicating in the context of their partner’s gender identity, which can be confusing.

Another common problem is money fights. Couples can end up in financial turmoil if one partner makes more than the other, or if they have differing saving and spending habits. This can be stressful for a couple and could even cause the breakup of the relationship.

5. Conflict

Like any relationship, lesbian relationships can be prone to arguments. Whether the issue is who does the washing-up, where to live or how to raise children, disagreements can lead to feelings of resentment and distance.

Conflicting ideas about the future of the relationship can also fuel tensions. For example, one woman may want to travel while the other wants to settle down and start a family.

In addition, studies show that same sex partners tend to have lower levels of physiological arousal during conflict, which can make it hard to calm down and find resolution. This can increase the risk of partner violence, including physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Fortunately, this can be prevented by communication and using problem-solving techniques. This is where a couple’s therapist can be helpful.